Friday 20 April 2018

How much would you pay? Hair of Irish missionary priest up for auction

Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

A lock of hair and a fragment of the cassock of Father John O’Brien, killed in the Korean War, are up for auction in Dublin.

The two appear together in a carved ivory box and are valued at €200-€300 as part of Whyte’s ‘Eclectic Collecter’ auction this Saturday. There is already one online bid on the item for €150.

Fr O’Brien, from Donamon, Co Roscommon, was a Columban missionary to South Korea who, along with six others, was killed by North Korean forces during the invasion in 1950.

There was some speculation in 2014 that Fr O’Brien would be beatified along with the other Irish priests killed in the war, but there was no beatification.

It is not known how the relics were preserved and brought out of Korea; they were acquired by Whyte’s from a collector who obtained them from a family member of Fr O’Brien’s around 20 years ago.

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